Wednesday, October 17, 2007

France wins, Scotland loses, Italy watches

While Italy was hosting South Africa in a friendly match in Siena this evening, they were also watching the scoreboard for news on their two main rivals for the top spots in Group B qualifiers.

In Nantes, France, Thierry Henry broke Michel Platini's all-time goal mark for France when he netted a pair of goals in their 2-0 victory over Lithuania.

Henry scored at the 79th and 80th minute marks to give him a total of 43 goals for his career. Platini scored 41 goals in his time with France which spanned from 1976 to 1987. He is now the head of European soccer's governing body, UEFA.

This victory allowed France to take possession of first place in Group B with 25 points.
Henry surpasses Platini

In other action, previous group leader Scotland was upset by Georgia 2-0 in Tblisi. It was only Georgia's third win in 11 tries in the tournament.
Scots tripped up in Georgia
Tournament photos

This result leaves Scotland in second place with 24 points, one behind group leader France at 25 and only one point ahead of Italy at 23. Scotland will host Italy in a match in Glasgow on November 17 which will likely decide the tournament fate for both. France takes on Ukraine on November 21st.

Azzurri victorious in Siena

The Azzurri defeated South Africa 2-0 in a friendly match this evening in Siena. Cristiano Lucarelli scored both goals in a game that fielded only three players from last year's World Cup championship team. Incidentally, Lucarelli was not a member of that team but played for head coach Roberto Donadoni in Livorno last year.

It is believed that this match was the first game ever played in Siena by the national team. Siena was scheduled to host a friendly with Romania in February but the match was canceled after a policeman was killed during riots at a game in Catania, Sicily.
Siena "friendly" to Azzurri

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Azzurri fast forward

Italy faces 2010 World Cup host South Africa on Wednesday in Siena. When they do, it will be with a number of new faces including Paolo Cannavaro the brother of Azzurri captain Fabio Cannavaro. The attempt is for many young players to gain international experience prior to 2010.
Young guns ready

South Africa is coached by former Brazilian coach Alberto Parreira who lead the selecao to the 1994 World Cup Championship versus Italy in Pasadena.
An old foe looks forward to game

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Italy wins 2-0 over Georgia

The Azzurri kept pace with the other leaders in Group B with a tough 2-0 win over Georgia in Genova on Saturday night.

Andrea Pirlo scored first with a goal shortly before the half and Fabio Grosso sealed the game with a tally at the 84th minute.
Italy 2 - Georgia 0
Tournament action photos

Italy trails Scotland by one point with 23 points after a 3-1 win over Ukraine and France is in third with 22 points after a 6-0 rout of Faroe Islands.

Italy plays Scotland in Glasgow on November 17 in a game that will likely decide the winner and second place qualifiers for this group. Their final game is against Faroe Islands on November 21.

France finishes with games against Lithuania (10/17/2007) and Ukraine (11/21/2007) while Scotland takes on Georgia (10/17/2007) and hosts Italy on November 17th.
Buffon looking for help

Friday, October 12, 2007

Buffon to wear captain's band vs. Georgia

Gianluigi Buffon has been named captain for Saturday night's encounter with Georgia at Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genova. Usual captain Fabio Cannavaro was disqualified earlier for this match.
Buffon ready